Here's news from our fellow veteran Joe Hawkins: That's an Ex-Navy TACAMO Sub Communications EC-130Q BUNO 161496 was built in 1980. The Navy sent it to Davis-Monthan in 1994. It was bailed to NASA and stored for spare C-130 parts at the Western International Aviation Yard in Tuscon, AZ. It was bailed from NASA to the National Science Foundation's National Center for Atmospheric Research for spare parts for that programs C-130. 161496, now Tanker 134, is the second ex Navy TACAMO EC-130Q that Coulson has reworked into a fire bomber.
Below are comments regarding BUNO 161496
Vern Lochausen If memory serves...TCVA saw her at Tucson in a lot other than the 156 birds.
Ramon Purcell She was in the other yard that we didn’t have access too. Glad to see they put her back together.
Vern Lochausen Ramon Purcell ....thanks for confirming...ditto....glad she has a new life.
Chris Sachs Vern Lochausen Took a couple pictures of it. Now if I can find my camera.
Chris Sachs 496 at a Tucson bone-yard
Jeffery V. Harbin Got some rack time in that bird
Gregory Veit Dude, you have rack time in ALL the birds!
Jeffery V. Harbin Gregory Veit Hell yeah right next to you guys
Gregory Veit Amen
Jeffery V. Harbin! 'Specially after a short stop with a 4 hour drinking lamp!
Jimmy Thompson destined for wallops or the great pacific trash heap
Reg Morton yea, but ya gotta get a warm feeling when ya see the bone-yard picture, and then the picture that Vern put out of them bring'n her back to life!
David DeMoor Thinking I was involved in flying this to Barbers Pt. after acceptance from Collins at Love Field. Acceptance test was the bumpiest ride I ever had.
Jeffery V. Harbin Yep cause we made use of every minute
Jeffrey Warfield Worked on it many times
David J Davis As I recall, the Op Tempo for VQ-3 was approximately 1200 flight hours per month. Between six aircraft that would make an average of 200 hours per aircraft per month, or 2,400 hours per year. Between stand up, stand down, and at least one slep, we co…See More
Charlie Wooddy And it is EMP hardened
Frederic Tom Clarke Irish and I delivered 495 brand new from Rockwell Dallas to VQ-4! Back in the day!
Stanley Braisted Which is the other Coulson bird? And let us never forget the crewmen who crashed in two separate firefighter tanker C-130A's due to fatigue cracks at the center-section wing attachments, one of which was filmed as both wings folded up and detached. Truly pointless, and preventable, deaths.
Coulson reworked into the Next Generation Airtanker was 161495. The Navy sent 161495 to Davis-Monthan in 1990. It was bailed to NASA (Along with 161494 and 161496) and sent to Wallops Island as N472NA in 1991. In 2004 NASA declared it surplus and sold it. The Kenosha Military Museum at Pleasant Prarie, WI bought it from NASA and had plans to display it. Those plans fell though and it was loaned out to the Southeastern Wisconsin Aviation Museum at Batten Field where it sat on "display" for 9 years. In 2010 the Kenosha Military Museum put it up for sale, in 2011 Coulson bought it and started the process of converting it into a "Next Generation Airtanker". It now operates with Coulson as Tanker 131, FAA N-Number N130FF.
Stanley Braisted Thanks, Joe Hawkins - I'm always fascinated at the many lives of our prior Herkybirds, starting with the earliest Vern and I flew in, 889 and 891; and my then-latest, 348 and 469 - even the "newer" birds like these It is kinda neat that two of them, 891 and 348, can be seen on display at NPA and TIK for the foreseeable future...
Tim Jones I’ve worked on that bird! VQ-3 Airframes 1983-1986
Jeffrey Warfield I remember you Tim I was in power plants with Willie Nichols.
Tim Jones I remember you! Willie is in Arizona.
Will Nichols is on here once in a great while.
James W. Harvey Got some flight hours in that bird.